Federal Health Policy Update

National Perspective

SCHIP Reauthorization Update

House Republicans have presented Senate negotiators with their final proposal for legislation to reauthorize and expand SCHIP as lawmakers continue last-minute negotiations. Read the full article at Kaiser Network...

Why Has Healthcare Reform Failed?

A Los Angeles Times editorial recently discussed barriers that have blocked past efforts at health reform. Read the editorial...

Unlikely Alliance Forming on Health Care

The leading small-business organization The National Federation of Independent Business, a lobbying juggernaut that helped kill President Clinton's health plan in the 1990s, announced plans it is signing up with a diverse political coalition including AARP, the Service Employees International Union the Business Roundtable (which represents chief executives of major companies) in an umbrella group called Divided We Fail.

The effort aims at ensuring health care and retirement security are at the top of the presidential candidates' domestic agendas next year. Read the Los Angels Times story...

[ Back to top ]

The AmerU.S. Health Care System

The 2007 Health Confidence Survey (HCS) is the 10th annual survey to assess the attitudes of the American public regarding the U.S. health care system. Survey findings include:

Most Americans are getting hit with higher health costs: More than 6 in 10 Americans with health insurance coverage (63%) report they experienced an increase in the costs they are responsible for paying under their plan in the past year. Of these respondents, higher costs have caused them to increasingly:

  • Try to take better care of themselves (81% in 2007; 71% in 2005).
  • Talk to the doctor more carefully about treatment options and costs (66% in 2007; 57% in 2005).
  • Go to the doctor only for more serious conditions or symptoms (64% in 2007; 54% in 2005).
  • Delay going to the doctor (50% in 2007; 40% in 2005).
  • Not fill or skip doses of their prescribed medications (28% in 2007; 21% in 2005).

Effects on household finances: Those experiencing higher costs are also likely to report that these increases have hurt their household finances. In particular, they indicate increased health care costs have resulted in a decrease in contributions to retirement (30%) and other savings (52%) and in difficulty paying for basic necessities (29%) and other bills (36%). Read the complete survey results...

Kaiser Health Tracking Poll for October

With the presidential primaries less than three months away Iraq remains the top issue the public wants the president and congress to address. Health care ranks second, and is the top domestic issue, with 36% of self-identified Democrats, 31% of independents, and 22% of Republicans considering it the top issue. Read the full article at the Kaiser Web site (PDF)...

Looking at Dutch and Swiss Health Systems

The Swiss and Dutch health care systems are suddenly all the rage. They have features similar to proposals by at least two presidential hopefuls, Senator Clinton and John Edwards.

In early November the United States' top health official, Secretary of Health and Human Services Robert Leavitt, visited Switzerland and the Netherlands to kick the tires on their health systems that require all people to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty. Employers are exempt from mandates and private insurers and hospitals provide care. Read the full New York Times article...